Together, we make an impact

The Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC) is the only terrestrial invasive species center of its kind in the country. Since 2015, MITPPC has supported nearly 100 researchers through 52 projects, involving 52 external partners. Our work has yielded effective measures to protect the state’s native prairies, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources from terrestrial invasive plants, pathogens, and pests. However, more remains to be done.

Extensive progress to date would not have been possible without the support of the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Highlights from MITPPC research

photograph of researchers observing a ground plot in a forest

Scientists observe a plot of forest floor during research on common buckthorn

Advances to protect natural resources

Our researchers have made a huge impact in managing invasive buckthorn. We now know how to effectively use grazing goats to remove buckthorn, including when other strategies prove more effective. MITPPC researchers found that planting native vegetation after buckthorn removal is an effective way to prevent reinvasion. We also authored new materials for land managers to provide them with the latest research on identifying, removing, and preventing reestablishment.

photograph of a researcher studying spotted wing drosophila on grapes

Researcher studies insects on grapes

Solutions to agricultural pests

Minnesota’s 7 million acres of soybeans are affected by a variety of invasive species. MITPPC researchers have developed aphid-resistant soybean strains that are now on the market. They've also improved early detection of pests to prevent major outbreaks using remote sensing.

The spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is an invasive fruit fly capable of decimating fields of berries, grapes, and other fruits, causing more than $1 million in damages annually in Minnesota. Over the last 7 years, our researchers have identified novel management strategies for SWD that are already being implemented. MITPPC teams created new technology that is not only capable of reducing wild populations of SWD, but will affect the future of genetic biocontrol methods.

photograph of emerald ash borer gallery exposed on a mature tree trunk with forest greenery in the background

Emerald ash borer gallery exposed on a tree

Preventing loss of mature trees

The emerald ash borer (EAB) has become the most devastating invasive forest insect in the United States, killing ash trees in natural areas and urban forests alike. Dedicated researchers have discovered how we may begin to conserve our ash trees and even create herd immunity. They also recently discovered fungi that can kill EAB.

MITPPC prioritizes partnerships

As a hub for world-class research, the MITPPC harnesses the talents of researchers across academic disciplines. We work with international, national, state, and local partners to put research into action.

We add value by prioritizing research, coordinating teams, collaborating with interested groups, preparing future scientists, and communicating results with our many partners. If you're interested in working with us, get in touch at [email protected].

Closing in on invasive species across Minnesota (2 min.)

Funding and support

Financial support for MITPPC is largely provided by the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative and Citizen Commission for Minnesota Resources.

Photo credit for the brown marmorated stink bug photo: photochem_PA from State College, PA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons